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Farmers urged to take lateral flow test before visiting livestock marts

IAAS is asking farmers to take a lateral flow test before attending livestock marts.

Farmers and crofters are being urged to take a lateral flow test before visiting a livestock mart.

The recommendation from marts trade body, the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS), comes in response to rising cases of coronavirus.

As well as urging farmers to take a lateral flow test prior to attending mart, IAAS is asking producers to adhere to social distancing measures which are being reintroduced in livestock markets.

The organisation says marts will also reintroduce a ban on under 16s attending sales, and only those wishing to conduct business are permitted to enter the live sales ring.

“As the Omicron Covid-19 variant takes hold and the number of cases is increasing rapidly, Scottish livestock auction markets have updated their guidance for customers attending markets in line with changes in legislation and advice received from Scottish Government,” said IAAS executive director, Neil Wilson.

“The main addition to the current guidance is the reintroduction of physical distancing throughout market premises.”

IAAS executive director Neil Wilson.

He said the measures were being taken to keep people safe and protect the livestock trade.

“IAAS expects to see an increase in inspections from local authorities and police to enforce these updated measures and we also expect market staff to take a strong stance with anyone not complying,” added Mr Wilson.

Other IAAS guidance includes a requirement for farmers to pre-notify the market if they are planning to attend, as well as a plea for vendors to adopt the “drop and go” policy previously introduced during the pandemic.

In addition, IAAS says all mart attendees must wear a face covering, unless exempt, and they must use hand washing or sanitising facilities on entry to market.

The IAAS guidance also asks farmers to be “respectful to all market staff during these challenging times”.

It adds: “They [staff] have been asked to follow the guidelines and the law to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible and to reduce the spread of the virus.”

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